Harlem Fave Ava Duvernay Will Be First African American Woman to Helm $100 Million Film
Yesterday a list of CA tax credits was announced. On that list was Disney’s Ava Duvernay-helmed film “A Wrinkle in Time.” Why that is of note is that this marks the first time CA tax incentives have been given to films with budgets over $75 million.
That got me thinking about women directors and budgets. Deadline writes that the budget for “A Wrinkle in Time” will be over $100 million, and I’ve confirmed that information.
This is milestone.
Ava DuVernay will be the first African American woman to helm a live-action feature with a budget over $100 million. Only two other women have directed live-action films with a budget in this range. Kathryn Bigelow was the first in 2002 with “K-19: The Widowmaker.” Patty Jenkins will be the second with next year’s “Wonder Woman.” And now Ava DuVernay will be the third. And she’ll be the first woman of color.
DuVernay has worked her way up from directing extremely low-budget films to a studio tentpole. Her feature debut, 2011’s “I Will Follow,” was made for $50,000 and her 2012 follow-up, “Middle Of Nowhere,” had a budget of $200,000. Oscar-nominated biopic “Selma” was a big step up budget-wise: the 2014 film’s budget was $20 million. And now DuVernay has crossed the $100 million mark — and only five years following the release of her first indie feature. She’s done that on authenticity and talent. This is a normal path for male directors, but one rarely accessible to women.
Congrats, Ava — for breaking another glass ceiling, and continuing to pave the way for your female colleagues.
Duvernay’s new TV series, “Queen Sugar,” will debut on OWN on September 6, 2016. Every episode of the first season is directed by a woman. The drama has already been renewed for a second season.